Winner: South Africa

Standard Bank International One-Day Series, 1996-97

South Africa ran out winners of another limited-overs tournament, but not without a last-minute alarm. As so often, they were clearly the strongest team in the league stages, winning six games out of six. The first attempt to stage the final against India was ended by rain. The replay featured a remarkable late-night run-chase, which seemingly carried India within reach of a reduced target and offered them the chance to overturn South Africa's form, as they had done in the equivalent tournament on Indian soil three months before. But they came a cropper in the final stages, leaving their hosts triumphant.

The tournament saw South African captain Hansie Cronje re-emerge as an effective batsman and an inspirational leader. His poor form in the preceding Test series against India had placed him under some pressure, but here he scored 274 runs in seven innings, and was dismissed only twice.

Although they finished third, Zimbabwe demonstrated that they were a vastly improved side, as their whitewash of England in a recent one-day series had suggested. They surprised South Africa more than once, tied their first match with the Indians, won the second - their maiden victory over India - and entered the last game ahead of them on points, with a good chance of reaching the final. India had to win in less than 41 overs to squeeze through on net run-rate; Sachin Tendulkar finally rediscovered his own form to beat the target with nine balls to spare.

Match reports for

1st Match: South Africa v India at Bloemfontein, Jan 23, 1997
Report | Scorecard

2nd Match: South Africa v Zimbabwe at Centurion, Jan 25, 1997
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3rd Match: India v Zimbabwe at Paarl, Jan 27, 1997
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4th Match: South Africa v Zimbabwe at Cape Town, Jan 29, 1997
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5th Match: South Africa v Zimbabwe at Johannesburg, Jan 31, 1997
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6th Match: South Africa v India at Port Elizabeth, Feb 2, 1997
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7th Match: South Africa v India at East London, Feb 4, 1997
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8th Match: India v Zimbabwe at Centurion, Feb 7, 1997
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9th Match: India v Zimbabwe at Benoni, Feb 9, 1997
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Final: South Africa v India at Durban, Feb 12, 1997
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Final: South Africa v India at Durban, Feb 13, 1997
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© John Wisden & Co
 
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